Embrace Your Place
Having been a lifelong educator, I have learned that change is part of the journey. I realize all professions undergo change, but it seems to me that education is near the top of the list when it comes to the frequency of change. The demands placed on educators continue to mount, resulting in a revolving door of new initiatives. While some schools and districts provide adequate training, many educators are often left to fend for themselves with very little financial support when new mandates are launched. It is truly amazing to me what many teachers are able to accomplish given minimal training and support.
For me, I find it is easier to embrace my place when the decision to change was mine. It is not so easy when someone else makes the decision for me. To be totally transparent, I also have more trouble embracing change the older I get. It seems I’m way more comfortable to stay where I am—less energy is required!
For some reason, God doesn’t always agree with me. About the time I seem to hit my stride, something shifts. The same may happen for you. Maybe you have taught a particular grade level or subject just long enough to get comfortable when your administrator asks you to switch and teach something new. Perhaps, as an administrator, you have worked hard to get your staff to a certain place when you are suddenly moved to a different building. Sometimes these changes are easy; more times than not, they are challenging. Regardless, we all must decide if we are going to embrace or resist our place.
After I had completed my rough draft of this blog, I was reading in Genesis during my quiet time. I came to the familiar story of Joseph, and God began to apply this phrase “embrace your place” in a new way. Don’t you love how He does that?
I’m sure many of you know the story in Genesis 39-41, but I would encourage you to read it again with fresh eyes. Here are just a few highlights of Joseph’s journey.
· Joseph was sold as a slave and placed under the charge of an ungodly king.
· Joseph’s master saw the Lord was with him and put Joseph in charge of his household.
· Joseph lived in plenty for over 10 years.
· He was wrongly accused of infidelity and put in prison.
· Joseph was granted favor and put in charge while in prison.
· He accurately interpreted dreams in prison.
· Joseph accurately interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and was released from prison after two years.
· Joseph was made second in command over Egypt.
Throughout all of this (and more) you never read about Joseph complaining. You never read about him becoming angry with God. You never hear him respond hatefully to anyone. In fact, he was so sensitive to the needs of others that he noticed when the baker and cupbearer were upset and asked them why they looked so worried. Joseph had every reason to become bitter. In spite of that, he embraced wherever God chose to place him. In fact, the Bible says, “God was with him.” It was as if Joseph knew God was preparing him for something greater. He knew and believed God was faithful.
Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9
I’m not sure why I sometimes resist change. I would like to use the excuse that I am old and tired, but that doesn’t carry much weight in God’s economy. I am so grateful for His patience. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a spiritual V8 moment. I have had to knock myself upside my head and remind myself that God has always been faithful to me in the past, and His Word promises He will always be faithful in the future. Nothing has changed.
When God changes our circumstances or asks us to make a change, we may not understand. We may have questions, and that’s fine. God lets us express ourselves to Him through prayer. He may answer, or He may not. In the end, we have to choose whether or not to believe God is sovereign over all things and God is for us, not against us.
When my circumstances change, I have started asking myself some questions.
· What do you want me to learn from this?
· How do you want me to adjust or change?
· How can I bring glory to you through this situation?
I hope to learn from Joseph by…
· Giving God the glory in all things.
· Living so others see God’s presence in my life.
· Refusing to complain or become angry.
· Flourishing in whatever circumstance or position God places me.
As we seek to embrace our place in this journey called life, let’s remember that God is usually up to something outside our sphere of understanding.
Embrace your place!
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for well-being and not for trouble, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11,